CORVALLIS, Ore. - The family of the late Marvin Boone Noble and Eva Barclay Noble have established a wildlife ecosystem fund at Oregon State University in their memory.
The Nobles, who were OSU alumni, left the university a bequest of 124 acres of land, valued at $377,000, in Hebo, Ore., near the site of the former Noble & Bittner Plug Company that Marvin Noble operated for many years. The couple's family decided to dedicate $342,000 of the gift to establish the Marvin and Eva Noble Wildlife Ecosystem Health Fund in the College of Forestry because it reflects the Nobles' commitment to education and love of wildlife as well as Marvin Noble's heritage as a descendant of the pioneer woodsman, Daniel Boone.
"The Noble Ecosystem Health Fund will enable OSU to expand studies of native wildlife and the forest and rangeland ecosystems where they live," said Hal Salwasser, dean of OSU's College of Forestry. "This gift is certainly a fitting tribute to Marvin and Eva Noble. As major contributors to the forest products industry, the Nobles believed in giving back to their community, and they had a deep love for Oregon State University."
The Noble fund will complement the Boone & Crockett Ecosystem Wildlife Health Fund, which was begun earlier this year by the big game hunting club named after Boone and Davy Crockett. Both funds will help educate students for natural resource careers and develop best practices for the management of native fish and wildlife habitats.
Ever since he was a young boy, Marvin Noble studied the life of his ancestor Daniel Boone. According to his daughter, Nancy Stevens, Noble would often recount how learning about Boone saved his life during World War II while fighting in the Pacific theater. When he found himself on the edge of a cliff, pinned down by enemy gunfire, an injured Noble recalled how Boone had escaped from a similar situation. Noble, who had been shot in both his shoulder and wrist, jumped off the cliff and grabbed at tree limbs with his uninjured arm, slowing his fall to the ravine floor.
His interest in Daniel Boone continued throughout his life, fueling his passion for hunting and wildlife.
"My father would be smiling to know how the gift will be used," said Stevens. "Both my parents graduated from OSU and have always thought that education was one of the most important things you could do for yourself, your family and the community."
Eva Noble, who also came from a pioneer family, shared her husband's love for wildlife and for learning. She graduated from OSU in 1941 and taught high school for several years. Marvin Noble earned his degree from OSU in fisheries and wildlife in 1938. Although they attended the university at different times, Marvin and Eva Noble met on a blind date at a dance in OSU's Memorial Union. They were married for 61 years and continued to take classes long after graduation.
The Nobles were active community members, including deep involvement with the Tillamook County school board, YMCA, community college, library and museum. In 2000, they established a scholarship to help Nestucca High School graduates attend college. The Nobles were also very loyal to OSU, attending many football games and alumni events.
They particularly enjoyed the marching band, and their gift will also provide $35,000 for the Marvin and Eva Noble Family Marching Band Endowment at OSU.